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CHAN 2021: A Look at the Major Contenders for the Trophy
January 16, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

Cameroon will hope to host and win the CHAN for the first time
Cameroon will hope to host and win the CHAN for the first time

The 6 edition of the African Nations Championship, CHAN 2021 gets underway in Cameroon from January 16 to February 7, 2021. 16 teams are participating in the competition with host Cameroon looking to go beyond the quarter-final of the competition.

The Africa Nations Championship, a competition solely for local players was scheduled for 2020 but had to be postponed to 2021 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

It promises to be a mouth-watering and a high-level competition from all the countries involved with some trying to win for the first time while others will look to extend their title cabinet. Here, Pan African Visions looks at some of the countries who are tipped to win the trophy either for the first time or added to their trophies already won.

Cameroon

Cameroon competes in the tournament as host. The country did not enter the qualifiers after the won the rights to host the CHAN. The intermediate Lions will participate in the competition with new coach Martin Ntoungou Mpile after the sacking of Yves Clement Arroga.

It is his second stint as head coach of the intermediate Lions of Cameroon having managed the team to quarter-final during the 2016 African Nations Championship in Rwanda. Cameroon will be making their fourth appearance in the tournament, after previously taking part in 2011, 2016 and 2018.

The Indomitable Lions have never gone past the quarterfinals. They did so in 2011 and 2016 and will hope to correct those statistics when they host Africa. Mpile and his team have been handed the mission to take Cameroon right to the final and to improve the system of play of the team in the CHAN.

Cameroon will rely on players like Banga Solomon, Bamboutos Player Christian Mayo, Yannick Ndjeng, Banga, Rene Ndi amongst others to propel them to the title.

Morocco

Morocco is the defending champion
Morocco is the defending champion

Morocco is coming into this competition as the defending champions. They became the first country to host and win the trophy in 2018 during the 5th edition of the competition. They beat Nigeria by 4 goals to 1.

The North Africans will be appearing for the fourth time at the continental tournament, having made their debut in 2014 in South Africa.

The Atlas Lions got as far the quarterfinals six years ago, topping Group B ahead of Zimbabwe, Uganda and Burkina Faso before losing a 4-3 thriller after extra time to Nigeria.

In Rwanda in 2016, Morocco was eliminated in the first round, as they finished behind Ivory Coast and hosts Rwanda in Group A.

Morocco will open their campaign on January 18, 2021, in Douala when they face tournament debutants, Togo. Four days later they take on Rwanda, while their group stage campaign will be wrapped up on January 26 when they battle Uganda.

Democratic Republic of Congo

The Democratic Republic of Congo headlines group B. They are the most successful team in the competition. They have won the competition twice (2009 and 2016) out of the five editions and will hope to make it three times during the Cameroon expedition.

The DR Congo Intermediate Lions is under TP Mazemba trainer Pamphile Mihayo and he has hope that before the start of the championship, his team will be ready.

Libya

The Mediterranean Knights crowned CHAN champions in 2014 will begin the quest to become champions for the second time as they face Niger on 17 January 2021. Montenegrin Zoran Filipovic will lead the Libyan national team in the Chan championship with the assistance of national coach Mohamed Al-Kikli.

The Libyan Football Federation (LFF) recently released a list of players to participate at the 6th edition of the CHAN. The team includes 28 players from seven clubs that are playing in Libya’s premier league, which was suspended for about 18 months.

Libya secured a place in the competition for footballers playing in their country of birth after Tunisia, the team that defeated them in a qualifier, withdrew.

Zoran Filipovic has previously worked in Africa 10 years ago, saving South African Premiership club Golden Arrows from relegation during 12 months with the Durban club.

The first task of Filipovic, who was capped 13 times by the then Yugoslavia as a forward, will be to prepare Libya for the African Nations Championship (CHAN) in Cameroon next month.

“I promise to give my all to the cause of the Libyan national team,” said the 67-year-old during a press conference in Tripoli.

Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso
Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso will be making its third appearance during the Cameroon expedition after that of 2014 and 2018.

The Head coach of the local Stallions of Burkina Faso Seydou Zerbo made known a list of 33 players instead of the normal 23 player squad to participate at the 6th edition of the Africa Nations Championship, CHAN 2021.

Burkina Faso summoned top scorer of the first leg, Mohamed Lamine Ouattara of AS Sonabel, striker of EFO, Yannick Pognogo, and experienced goalkeeper, Babayouré Sawadogo were all called up to the group.

The country will hope to improve their performance has never gone past the group stage and the Cameroon expedition may just be that year that the country finally improves on that performance as wins the competition. They will first have to battle their way out of the group stage if they are to be victorious this year.

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Kenyan referees chosen for CHAN tournament
January 12, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

Dr. Peter Waweru, a lecturer at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology will officiate as a central  referee
Dr. Peter Waweru, a lecturer at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology will officiate as a central referee

The Confederation of African Football (Caf) has included two Kenyans in the list of 39 referees who will preside over the African Nation’s Championship (CHAN).

The two are Dr. Peter Waweru, a lecturer at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology as a central referee, and Gilbert Cheruiyot as an assistant referee.

 Dr. Waweru will have another opportunity to show his prowess at the continental level after doing the same at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt. So far, he has officiated 12 continental matches, including Confederation Cup, CAF Champions League, and group stage afcon matches.

CHAN is a showpiece created for players plying their trade in the domestic leagues.  This year’s tournament is set to kick off on January 16 and run to February 7, 2021, in Cameroon.

The host will start their campaign against Zimbabwe before taking Mali and Burkina Faso on January 20 and 24, respectively.

DR Congo, the tournament’s most successful team, were seeded in Group B together with Congo Brazaville, Libya, and Niger. DRC have won the cup two times.

The defending champions Morocco are in Group B, and they will compete against Togo, Rwanda, and Uganda.

In Group D, Zambia will face Namibia, Guinea, and Tanzania.

CHAN was scheduled to take place in 2020 but was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Kenya:Injured Gor Mahia to face Napsa Stars in Caf Confederation Cup
January 9, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

Kenyan Premier League giant Gor Mahia has been drawn to face Zambian side Napsa Stars in the Caf Confederation Cup group stage play-offs.

The Kenyan champions will host their opponents on February 14, with the return league scheduled to be on February 21 in Lusaka, Zambia, according to the draw of the competition carried out by the Confederation of African Football (Caf) on Friday.

 The winner between Gor and Napsa Stars will qualify for the group stage of the competition.

Gor is set to face former players Shaban Odhoji, Timothy Otieno, and another Kenyan, Andrew Tololwa, who ply their trade at the Zambian Side.

The Green Army was bundled out of the Caf Champions League by CR Belouizdad of Algeria on 8-1 aggregate. Napsa reached the play-offs stage on away goal rule following a 1-1 aggregate score against Mozambique’s UD Songo.

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SW Regional League: Major Upsets Recorded On Matchday One
January 8, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

H.O Academy
H.O Academy

The much anticipated South West regional League finally took off across stadia in the Region with major upsets recorded along the way. Victoria United, LIFCA, UBFC, Little Foot all recorded defeats.

24 goals were scored on matchday one with 7 home wins. 2 games did not take place due to licenses issues.

With the Regional League in recess to resume only after the Africa Nations Championship, CHAN which concludes on February 7, 2021, Pan Africa Visions looks at the state of affairs of the League after the first day of play and examines the chances of the big guns succeeding after faltering on the first day.

Victoria United Faltered at the Start

Victoria United aka “OPOPO” went in this year for a new coach in the person of Njoku Barnabas to help them get that much-needed ticket to Elite 2 Football. The start, however, is not what he would have hoped for as his side were beaten 1-0 by Option Sport.

The team’s ambition despite the loss on the first day is to first reach the mini interpool and then secure a space at the national interpool. “…That is what I am here”. “If I am here I think I have something to offer. I am here because I have my ambitions. With the players and administration I have at hand I believe we are up to the task. Like any ambitious club in the region, the goal is to qualify this club first to the mini interpool and from there we will take it forward,” Coach Barnabas said.

The next game for Victoria United is almost a must-win affair. They cannot afford to drop points if they are to achieve their ambitions. Victoria United will face Best Stars on Matchday 2. Best Stars was on standby during day one. They too will hope not to drop points against Victoria United and a draw will suit them well.

EEMSA Tiko
EEMSA Tiko

Prisons Show Master class against Cinyodev FA

Prisons Social Club of Buea aka “Home Boys” showed class and superiority against a lacklustre Cinyodev FA side that fielded a young squad against an experienced side. Prisons dismantled Cinyodev FA by 6 goals to 0 with a brace each from Mborong Collins, Elonge Moki Junior and substitute Ekema Samuel Etonge.

Cinyodev FA was without Ntui Brandon, a main-stay at the defence for Cinyodev FA last football season who signed with YOSA this year, as was another player of Cinyodev.

“This is a championship and every goal counts on the last day of the competition. So when you have the opportunity to make a goal you have to take it and it also builds confidence with the attackers. Last year we had the problem of our attackers not scoring so if they have the opportunity to score they have to take it to get that confidence,” Coach Enang Severine of Prisons FC told Pan African Visions.

In the other Pool A game, H.O Academy had an easy ride over Mt Cameroon FC. The former defeated the latter by 3 goals to 0, with a brace from Alexi Lalas giving his side all three points.

Ajax FC too Good for Little Foot FC

Ajax FC Likomba showed cutting edge finishing against Little Foot FC. The boys of Coach Patrice who had a series of training exercises dispatched Little Foot Fc by 4 goals to zero.

“Last football season Ajax did something that no one would have imagined. In the overall classification Ajax was second and at the beginning of the championship last year no one would have imagined that Ajax would hold Tiko United, EEMSA. This year the expectation is much higher than last year,” Coach Tueche Patrice said.

The club has succeeded in getting some new faces to flesh up the squad. Attacker Mbigla Oscar has been brought in. So too are Chenco and Benton in the defence line. “The boys are ready than last year, and I am sure that this year Ajax will be different,” Coach Patrice Tueche added.

A sneak peek at Matchday Two

Matchday two in Pool A promises to be firework with a battle for first place. Prisons FC who leads Pool A by goal difference faces H.O Academy – a side that the former defeated last football season by 1 goal to 0.

LIFCA will be hoping to be on red hot form when they next take to the pitch. The team has high hopes of reaching the Elite 2 football championship this year after bringing in Coach Augustine Choupo. LIFCA will face Pool C leaders NQSA. Everything rest on this game for LIFCA.

In Pool F, Ajax FC will hope to continue their good start of the championship. The team dispatched Little Foot on day one of the championships. Coach Patrice Tueche was very pleased after the opening day victory and will hope the good fortunes will be with them.

EEMSA on their part will also hope they can continue their winning run. The team that won Tiko United in the opening day of the championship faces Little Foot FC, a side that was hammered by Ajax FC.

Prisons FC Buea
Prisons FC Buea

Complete Matchday Two fixtures

Pol A: Cinyodev FA versus Mount Cameroon FC and Prisons against H.O Academy.

Pool B: Continetal FA versus University of Buea FC, Buea United FC versus Dynamic FC. Catholic University Soccer Academy is on standby.

In Pool C: ISOHSA to face Njalla Quan Sports Academy (NQSA), FUSSA against LIFCA

Pool D: Best Stars will face Victoria United, while Option Sports will be on standby

In Pool E: Kumba Lakers awaits NEMFA, while Bau Manibok to battle with Future Dream. Nkamanyi Football Initiative will be on standby.

Pool F: Treviso who was on standby on matchday one will face league leaders Ajax FC Likomba. Little Foot FC battles EEMSA, while Tiko United is on standby. 

The goal of the teams in the South West Region is to get a ticket to play Elite Two football next football season. The Region is blessed with state-of-the-art infrastructure but yet no team in the Elite 1 or 2 Football Championships. The hope from football stakeholders in the Region is that this year will be that year as since the like of Buea United, Tiko United, no team from the South West Region has been into the Elite tier of Football in the Region.

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Cameroon: 2020/2021 NW Regional League Begins February 9
January 8, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

North West Regional League to begin after the CHAN
North West Regional League to begin after the CHAN

2020/2021 North West Regional football Championship is set to begin February 9, 2021, after the conclusion of the Africa Nations Championship, CHAN. This was one of many decisions taking during the FECAFOOT North West Assembly meeting this December 23, 2020.

According to reports the 2020/21 football season will be played with 22 teams instead of 21 as was the case last season. There will be four pools with five teams and another two pools with 6 teams. The top 2 teams from both pools will qualify for the mini-interpools.

The launch of the North West Regional football championship will follow that of the South West, East, West, and Centre Regional championship which were launched earlier. For the South West Regional championship, it is on recess to resume only after the Africa Nations Championship, a decision taking by club president during the FECAFOOT General Assembly for the South West Region.

The Secretary-General of the NW Regional League of FECAFOOT Ndi Tsembom Elvis has said that FECAFOOT NW has set up a team to manage “Futsal” in the region. To him, work is in progress to ensure that there is a Futsal tournament in the region.

“1st national President for Futsal is currently in the region to work hand in hand with the NW SG for the realisation of this,” SG Ndi Tsembom said, as reported by Martial Gnoukapasir. “New Futsal fields have been constructed already in the NW to facilitate the upcoming specialised tournament.”

In his presentation of the balance sheet of last football season that was cancelled like other regional leagues across the country, Ndi Tsembom highlighted that the absence of funds was an issue for the proper management of football in the region.

 He equally congratulated PWD Bamenda for being crowned champions of the Elite one football championship. PWD won the championship last year, a feat they had never reached since their creation some 58 years ago.

“The greatest problem we face away from covid-19 is the football pitch. Now that am Mayor I will do my best to see something is done about that,” Mbigha Felix, President FECAFOOT NW said.

Other resolutions taking during the NW FRCAFOOT Assembly:

-On instructions from Mbombo Njoya, no club duly affiliated last season will do so this season.

– Affiliation is free as the bureau is obliged to give same licenses teams paid for last year.

– Female football league will be inter-regional with NW clubs playing alongside those of the west region. 5 teams are to represent the region with their licenses.

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Cameroon:South West Regional Championship Kicks Off December 13
December 6, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

The South West Regional Championship is set to be launch this December 13 2020. The opening game will see Tiko United alias the Samba Boys facing Elame Eteki Memorial Sports Academy, EEMSA.

The game that will be played at the Tiko Town Green Stadium will commence at 3 pm with the other day One matches coming up on Wednesday, December 16, 2020.

Meanwhile, ahead of the kickoff, the Regional General Assembly Meeting has been programmed for this Saturday, December 12, 2020, at the Regional Office of FECAFOOT Buea, according to a release by the Secretary-General of the South West Regional League of FECAFOOT, Sylvester Esowe Muambo.

For the past 9 months now, football activities had been suspended in the region due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. The South West Regional League like other Regional leagues across the country was abandoned since March.

Tiko United last football season had nursed the ambition to qualify for the Mini interpool and the National Interpool for a ticket to the Elite 2 football championship, a competition they had tested before their relegation to the Regional league. In the cancelled football season, Tiko United was leading their pool with a sure chance of the Mini Interpool.

In 2009, Tiko United won the Cameroon First Division for the first time in their history and a place in the CAF Champions League.

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Kenya:Is Tomas Trucha plotting his way out of Leopard’s den?
December 2, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

Coach Thomas Trucha

Kenyan Premier League side AFC Leopards kicked off the 2020/2021 season over the weekend on high by registering a 2-1 win against the 2016 champions Tusker FC.

Tusker opened the scoring via David Majak, but Robinson Kamura and Elvis Rupia struck a goal each to take the 13-time champions to the top of the table.

Ahead of their next Sunday match against the newly promoted Bidco United, daunting information has emerged that might destabilize the team’s spirit.

Coach Thomas Trucha has claimed that his life is in danger following threats to his agents by people claiming to be supporters of the club.

“The coach’s agent has been threatened by people claiming to be our supporters, and the coach doesn’t feel safe here,” said Dan Shikanda, the club’s chairman.

He added, “I talked to him yesterday, and he says because his representative has been threatened, he doesn’t think he is safe.”

Prior, it was speculated that the former Botswana’s Township Rollers boss is pushing his way out of the club over interference.

It was reported that Trucha is accusing some of the club officials of pushing for some players’ fielding on match days.

Speaking during the launch of the team’s shirt sponsor, Betsafe, Shikanda revealed that they would give away forward on Thursday.

“We will have a press conference tomorrow with the coach, and he will make a decision whether he will stay or leave,” said Shikanda.

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Nuggets Convert Contract of Bol Bol
November 25, 2020 | 0 Comments

Bol, 7-2, 220, was selected with the 44th overall pick by the Miami Heat in the 2019 NBA draft and was acquired by the Nuggets in a draft night trade.

Bol Bol of the Denver Nuggets poses for a portrait during the 2019 NBA Rookie Photo Shoot on Aug. 11, 2019 at the Ferguson Recreation Center in Madison, New Jersey..Phpto credit DP

The Denver Nuggets have converted the two-way contract of Bol Bol to a standard multi-year NBA contract, President of Basketball Operations Tim Connelly announced today.

Bol Bol, who will remain a rookie for the 2020-21 season as he did not appear in an NBA game prior to the hiatus on March 11th, appeared in seven games for the Nuggets during the seeding games in the Orlando Bubble and averaged 5.7 points and 2.7 rebounds per game while shooting .500 from the field and .444 from beyond the arc.

The 21-year-old impressed in the Nuggets three scrimmage games prior to the Seeding Games in Orlando, posting averages of 13.7 points, 6.3 rebounds and 3.0 blocks in 29.3 minutes per game. He also appeared in eight games for the Windy City Bulls of the G League in 2019-20, averaging 12.0 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.1 blocks in 19.3 minutes.

Bol, 7-2, 220, was selected with the 44th overall pick by the Miami Heat in the 2019 NBA draft and was acquired by the Nuggets in a draft night trade. He appeared in nine games as a freshman for Oregon in 2018-19, averaging 21.0 points, 9.6 rebounds and 2.7 blocks in 29.8 minutes before a season-ending foot injury. Bol reached double figure scoring in every game and tallied four double-doubles.

The 19-year-old native of Khartoum, Sudan, is the son of former NBA great Manute Bol who played 10 seasons for the Washington Bullets, Golden State Warriors, Philadelphia 76ers and Miami Heat.

*SOURCE Denver Nuggets

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Mismanagement of funds, Abuse of Position: CAF President Ahmad Ahmad Banned for Five Years
November 23, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

CAF President Ahmad Ahmad. Photo Goal
CAF President Ahmad Ahmad. Photo Goal

The President of the Confederation of African Football, CAF Ahmad Ahmad has been banned from all sporting related activities for the next five years by Football governing body FIFA.

The FIFA ethics committee found “Ahmad had breached his duty of loyalty, offered gifts and other benefits, mismanaged funds and abused his position as the CAF President.”

“The adjudicatory chamber of the independent Ethics Committee has found Ahmad Ahmad, the President of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) and a FIFA Vice-President, guilty of having breached art. 15 (Duty of loyalty), art. 20 (Offering and accepting gifts or other benefits) and art. 25 (Abuse of position) of the 2020 edition of the FIFA Code of Ethics, as well as art. 28 (Misappropriation of funds) of the 2018 edition,” the statement read.

“The investigation into Mr Ahmad’s conduct in his position as CAF President during the period from 2017 to 2019 concerning various CAF-related governance issues, including the organisation and financing of an Umrah pilgrimage to Mecca, his involvement in CAF’s dealings with the sports equipment company Tactical Steel and other activities.”

“In its decision, following an extensive hearing, the adjudicatory chamber ruled that, based on information gathered by the investigatory chamber, Mr Ahmad had breached his duty of loyalty, offered gifts and other benefits, mismanaged funds and abused his position as the CAF President, under the FIFA Code of Ethics.

“Consequently, the adjudicatory chamber found that Mr Ahmad had breached arts 15, 20 and 25 of the current edition of the FIFA Code of Ethics, as well as art. 28 of the 2018 edition, and sanctioned him with a ban from all football-related activity (administrative, sports or any other) at both national and international level for five years. Also, a fine of CHF 200,000 has been imposed on Mr Ahmad.”

Ahmad’s first four-year term was clouded with allegations of financial wrongdoing and misconduct at the Confederation of African Football headquarters in Cairo. He was detained by French authorities in Paris on the eve of the Women’s World Cup for questioning about a CAF equipment deal with a company that appeared to have little connection with soccer.

The Ban for the Malagy comes at a time when he has been seeking re-election as President of CAF. 46 African football Federations had called for Ahmad to seek a second mandate, which he fittingly obliged. The CAF election is scheduled for March 12 in Rabat, Morocco.

A Clear Road for Patrice Motsepe of South Africa?

Patrice Motsepe, chairman of 2016 African club champions Mamelodi Sundowns is seen as the front contender for the CAF Presidency. With Ahmad Ahmad’s ban, the tagline may just be true.

Ahmad’s ban leaves the number of candidates for the Presidency to three; Jacques Anouma of Ivory Coast, Augustine Senghor, the head of the Senegalese Football Federation and Patrice Motsepe of South Africa.

“Motsepe can contest the position since he fulfils the requirements of having been involved in football for the past five years, with the South African having led Pretoria-based Sundowns since 2004, and has received the backing of his federation,” BBC Sports Africa reported.

“Caf must improve its global standing,” said South Africa FA president Danny Jordaan. “He is the most appropriate person we could offer for the leadership of Caf. We do not want any compromise on governance or ethics in football.”

Patrice Motsepe has led former African champions Mamelodi Sundowns since 2004. Picture by BBC Sports Africa
Patrice Motsepe has led former African champions Mamelodi Sundowns since 2004. Picture by BBC Sports Africa

“He has more superior qualities than me,” Pinnick told BBC Sport Africa. “It’s not about me, it’s about African football. If you have someone with superior qualities, you have to learn from him and queue behind him and wait for your time.”

“The key to successful governance starts from the point where the right person or persons are put in the right positions for the right reasons,” said Sierra Leone FA president Isha Johansen. “African football and the African continent need to be on the global platform for the right reasons.”

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Eight Players of Nigerian Descent Selected in NBA Draft 2020
November 20, 2020 | 0 Comments

13 international players from 10 countries were selected: seven in the first round and six in the second round.

Precious Achiuwa NBA Draft

NBA Draft 2020 Presented by State Farm® was held virtually on Wednesday, Nov. 18 from ESPN’s studios in Bristol, Connecticut and reached fans in 215 countries and territories in 29 languages. The Minnesota Timberwolves made the first pick for the second time in franchise history, selecting Georgia’s Anthony Edwards. The Golden State Warriors picked second (Memphis’ James Wiseman) for the first time in the common draft era. The Charlotte Hornets picked LaMelo Ball from Australia’s NBL third overall.

13 international players from 10 countries were selected: seven in the first round and six in the second round. Precious Achiuwa was selected 20th overall by the Miami Heat and Udoka Azubuike was selected 27th overall by the Utah Jazz, marking the first time that two players from Nigeria were selected in the first round of the same NBA Draft. Achiuwa and Azubuike are among the eight draftees from or with at least one parent from Nigeria, including Isaac Okoro (5th overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers), Onyeka Okongwu (6th overall by the Atlanta Hawks), Zeke Nnaji (22nd overall by the Denver Nuggets), Desmond Bane (30th overall by the Boston Celtics), Daniel Oturu (33rd overall by the Minnesota Timberwolves) and Jordan Nwora (45th overall by the Milwaukee Bucks).

Isaac Okoro: “It feels great to be the first Nigerian in this draft to be drafted. It’s also just a blessing. Like you said, my mom always tells me to keep that Nigerian pride. Even though I wasn’t born in Nigeria, I still got Nigerian blood. So it’s just having that on my shoulders.”

Precious Achiuwa: “First I want to thank God. I want to thank God for putting me in this type of position where I’m playing for a great organization and able to represent not just myself but where I’m from, my whole country behind me, my whole city. And to play for an organization like the Heat is going to be amazing. I can’t wait to be able to get out there and compete with the rest of my teammates.”

Udoka Azubuike : “For me, I’ve just been working hard and keeping my head down. Not listening to the people talking about projections. A lot of people had me in the second round, but I wasn’t concerned about that. I know what I bring to the table. I know what I can bring to a team. I know whatever team drafted me, I’m going to have to go there and have to prove myself and work hard.”

Below please find storylines about the international players selected in NBA Draft 2020 and in the NBA. Transcripts of Zoom media availability sessions with players selected in tonight’s NBA Draft are available at this link:  . For the attached photos, please credit NBAE/Getty Images.

International Players Selected in NBA Draft 2020 Presented by State Farm®:

  • Killian Hayes (France; born in Lakeland, Fla.; ratiopharm Ulm) was selected 7th overall by Detroit Pistons , becoming the highest-drafted French player ever. Hayes was named an All-Star  at two Basketball Without Borders (BWB) Global camps as part of NBA All-Star 2018  and 2019  and becomes the ninth former BWB camper to be drafted in the top 10 in the last five years. There were eight French players on 2019-20 opening-night rosters.
  • Deni Avdija (Israel; Maccabi Tel Aviv) was selected 9th overall by the Washington Wizards , becoming the highest-drafted Israeli player ever and just the second Israeli player to be drafted in the first round (Omri Casspi, 23rd overall in 2009). Avdija was named MVP  of Basketball Without Borders Europe (BWB) 2018 and BWB Global 2019 and becomes the 10th former BWB camper to be drafted in the top 10 in the last five years. Avdija’s father, Zufer, won a bronze medal with Yugoslavia at the 1982 FIBA Basketball World Championship and played professionally in Serbia and Israel. His mother, Sharon Artzi, is a former championship runner.
  • Aleksej Pokuševski (Serbia; Olympiacos) was selected 17th overall by the Minnesota Timberwolves, becoming the highest-drafted Serbian player since Darko Miličić, (2nd overall in 2003) and the fourth Serbian player to be drafted in the first round in the last 15 years. Pokuševski participated  in Basketball Without Borders Europe 2018 in Belgrade, Serbia alongside fellow 2020 draftee Deni Avdija (9th overall by the Washington Wizards; Israel). There were six Serbian players on 2019-20 opening night rosters, the fifth most of any country outside the U.S.
  • Josh Green (Australia; University of Arizona) was selected 18th overall by the Dallas Mavericks, becoming the highest-drafted Australian player since Ben Simmons (1st overall in 2016) and the seventh Australian to be drafted in the first round. Green was named an All-Star  at Basketball Without Borders Global 2018  and participated in the 2018 NBA Global Camp  in Treviso, Italy alongside fellow 2020 draftees Killian Hayes and Theo Maledon (France).
  • Precious Achiuwa (Nigeria; University of Memphis) was selected 20th overall by the Miami Heat, becoming the third Nigerian player to be drafted in the first round since 2000. There are 10 current and former NBA players from Nigeria, tied with Senegal for the most of any African country. There are more than 90 current and former NBA players from Africa or with direct family ties to the continent, including 13 African-born players on 2019-20 opening-night rosters.
  • Leandro Bolmaro (Argentina; FC Barcelona) was selected 23rd overall by the New York Knicks, becoming the highest-drafted Argentinian player ever. Bolmaro participated  in Basketball Without Borders Americas 2017  and Basketball Without Borders Global 2018 , where he was named an All-Star alongside fellow 2020 draftees Killian Hayes (7th overall by Detroit Pistons; France) and Josh Green (18th overall by the Dallas Mavericks; Australia). In March 2018, Bolmaro joined top prospects from the league’s NBA Academies at Next Generation Sunday at the NCAA Men’s Final Four in San Antonio , where he participated in educational and life-skills sessions, competed against peers from around the world, and experienced aspects of the Final Four from a player’s perspective, including attending Final Four semifinal games. Prior to the event, he spent a week training at NBA Academy Latin America  in Mexico City alongside top prospects from across the region.
  • Udoka Azubuike (Nigeria; University of Kansas) was selected 27th overall by the Utah Jazz, marking the first time that two players from Nigeria were selected in the first round of the same NBA Draft (Precious Achiuwa was selected 20th overall by the Miami Heat).
  • Théo Maledon (France; ASVEL) was selected 34th overall by the Philadelphia 76ers. Maledon participated  in the 2018 NBA Global Camp  in Treviso, Italy alongside fellow 2020 draftees Killian Hayes (France) and Josh Green (Australia).
  • Vit Krejčí (Czech Republic; Casademont Zaragoza) was selected 37th overall by the Washington Wizards, becoming the first player drafted from the Czech Republic since Tomas Satoransky (32nd overall in the 2012). Krejčí participated in Basketball Without Borders Europe 2017  and Basketball Without Borders Global 2018 .
  • Nick Richards (Jamaica; University of Kentucky) was selected 42nd overall by the New Orleans Pelicans, becoming the highest-drafted Jamaican player since Rumeal Robinson (10th overall in 1990) and the first Jamaican player drafted since Jerome Jordan (44th overall in 2010).
  • Marko Simonović (Montenegro; Mega Soccerbet) was selected 44th overall by the Chicago Bulls.
  • Yam Madar (Israel; Hapoel Tel Aviv) was selected 47th overall by the Boston Celtics, marking the first time that two Israeli players were selected in the same NBA Draft (Deni Avdija was selected 9th overall by the Washington Wizards , becoming the highest-drafted Israeli player ever).
  • Nico Mannion (Italy; University of Arizona) was selected 48th overall by the Golden State Warriors, becoming the highest-drafted Italian player since Danilo Gallinari (6th overall in 2008). Mannion was born in Italy and holds dual citizenship. His father, Pace, played in the NBA and the Italian League. His mother, Gaia, was a professional volleyball player in her native Italy.

International Players in the NBA:

  • There were 108 international players from 38 countries and territories on 2019-20 opening-night rosters (press release from 10/22/19 linked here.
  • The 2019-20 season was the sixth consecutive season that opening-night rosters featured at least 100 international players.
  • Canada had the most NBA players of any country outside the U.S. for the sixth straight year with 16 players (Australia and France had nine each).
  • The Dallas Mavericks led the league with seven international players on 2019-20 opening-night NBA rosters.
  • A record six international players were named to a 2019-20 All-NBA Team: Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks; Greece; All-NBA First Team); Luka Dončić (Dallas Mavericks; Slovenia; All-NBA First Team); Nikola Jokić (Denver Nuggets; Serbia; All-NBA Second Team); Pascal Siakam (Toronto Raptors; Cameroon; All-NBA Second Team); Rudy Gobert (Utah Jazz; France; All-NBA Third Team) and Ben Simmons (Philadelphia 76ers; Australia; All-NBA Third Team).

*APO

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“Ghost” Mulee says he won’t resign after Kenya lost 2-1 to minnows Comoros.
November 17, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

Harambee Stars coach Jacob "Ghost" Mulee
Harambee Stars coach Jacob “Ghost” Mulee

Football enthusiasts have been calling for the resignation of the national soccer team Harambee Stars coach Jacob “Ghost” Mulee following a disappointing 2-1 loss at the hands of lowly-ranked Comoros.

Sunday’s loss means Kenya’s chance of making it to the 2022 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) finals in Cameroon is minimal, with two games remaining. The East African nation is in the third position with three points behind Comoros and Egypt, which have accumulated 8 and 5 points.

Egypt’s win against Togo in Lome today will dim Kenya’s dream of a back to back appearance at the biennial showpiece.

Speaking to the local media after the team jetted back to the country from Moroni, Mulee said he would not resign even if the country fails to make it to the AFCON, noting that he has long term goals with the team.

“I have resigned before so it’s not a problem at all. But I have my own responsibilities and aims and I want to say that the times of resignation ended a long time ago. I will fight for the team and would only leave if I’m sacked,” he said.

The 52-year-old technician attributed the team’s failure to the coronavirus pandemic.

“When we played our first matches against Egypt and Togo, the local league was running. There was fair competition between local players and the foreign based ones. It’s a totally different situation when you have players who have been inactive for nine months,” Mulee added.

He also rued over the absence of striker Michael Olunga who plies his trade with the Japanese side Kashiwa Reysol. Olunga missed the two matches owing to strict Covid-19 restrictions in the Asian country.

“He is a top player who we depend on. You saw we created so many chances in both matches, and we couldn’t convert them into goals. Olunga is the type of a player who will convert even half a chance for you, we missed him,” he lamented.

“In football we say it is not over until it is over. We can still win the two matches and take our tally to nine points. Depending on the Togo versus Egypt result, we still have a chance that we cannot declare it’s gone before we play the matches,” maintained Mulee saying the Afcon dream is far from over.

Stars will host Egypt in March 2021 before traveling to Lome to take on Togo.

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Race to CAF Presidency: Sundowns’ Patrice Motsepe Submits his Candidacy
November 10, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

Patrice Motsepe

As the race hits up for who becomes the President of the Confederation of African Football, CAF, the body that manages football on the African continent, the chairman of South African outfit Mamelodi Sundowns Patrice Motsepe has entered the race.

He becomes the third person to show interest in that position after incumbent Ahmad Ahmad indicated he will run again, with Jacques Anouma of Ivory Coast the other person in the race. CAF’s election is scheduled to take place in March 2021 in Morocco.

Motsepe according to Forbes is the fourth wealthiest South African and the sixth wealthiest in Africa. He has a net worth estimated to be $2.4 billion. Motsepe has been involved in football for the past 16 years now as he has led Pretoria-based Sundowns since 2004. In 2016 his side Sundowns succeeded in capturing the CAF Champions League trophy.

Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Botswana, Sierra Leone are amongst eight countries that have refused to back Ahmad’s candidacy. Ahmad Ahmad has received the blessings of 46 African FA Presidents to stand for a second term in office. 

CAF must improve its global standing,” said South Africa FA President Danny Jordaan as per BBC Sports Africa. “He is the most appropriate person we could offer for the leadership of CAF. We do not want any compromise on governance or ethics in football.”

Motsepe, who has been backed by his South Africa FA was not at the Press Conference on Monday to make his candidacy known as he is in quarantine after contracting COVID-19. Danny Jordaan, South Africa FA President and Nathi Mthethwa, South Africa’s Minister of Sports did so.  

Jacques Anouma who is a former member of the FIFA’s Executive Committee (now FIFA Council) between 2007 and 2015 has been formally backed by his Ivorian Federation on Saturday evening, with the deadline for March’s election this Thursday.

It is still uncertain if incumbent Ahmad Ahmad from Madagascar would stand for re-election in March. The Malagasy did submit his necessary files for the position back in October. His eligibility has been questioned after he was found to have breached various FIFA’s ethic codes. He is set to face a ban on that.

Ahmad Ahmad has previously denied any wrongdoing. Last year, he was questioned by French anti-corruption authorities without being charged.

Mamelodi Sundowns won the 2016 CAF Champions League with Motsepe at the helm

“He has more superior qualities than me,” Nigeria’s Amaju Pinnick, another person who had nursed hopes of becoming the President but has now declined told BBC Sport Africa. “It is not about me, it’s about African football. If you have someone with superior qualities, you have to learn from him and queue behind him and wait for your time.”

“The key to successful governance starts from the point where the right person or persons are put in the right position for the right reason,” Isha Johansen, Sierra Leone FA President said. “African football and the African continent need to be on the global platform for the right reasons.”

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